Rebalancing Care and Support in Wales

8th November 2021

The Welsh Government issued a White Paper on 12 January 2021 titled 'Rebalancing Care and Support', setting out proposals for improving social care arrangements, to better enable the sector to achieve the aims of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

The proposals included introducing new legislation to strengthen partnership working for people who need care and support and carers who also need support. Additionally, proposals were made for a national framework to support services, which would be planned regionally and delivered locally, and for the strengthening of partnership arrangements.

Responses to the White Paper

On 29 June 2021, the Welsh Government provided a summary of the responses that had been received following the 12-week consultation period of the White Paper.

The summary of responses can be found here.

Further to this, on 6 July 2021 the Deputy Minister for Social Services, Julie Morgan MS provided an oral statement on the summary of the consultation responses stating that:

An overwhelming majority thought that the complexity in the sector gets in the way of service improvement. A significant proportion of responses agreed that commissioning practices are disproportionately focused on procurement. For these reasons, there was broad support for a national framework for care and support and an increased focus on commissioning by quality, outcomes, rights and well-being. Respondents felt that a national framework could reduce complexity and duplication. Many thought the framework could also encourage and facilitate integration and joint commissioning between health and social services.

A full record of the Deputy Minister for Social Services statement can be found here.

Commitment to implementing the proposals

On 29 October 2021, the Deputy Minister for Social Services issued a cabinet statement in which it was confirmed that the Welsh Government is committed to bringing forward the proposals set out in the White Paper and has plans to co-produce those proposals with stakeholders.

The Welsh Government intends to introduce a National Framework for care and support to:

  • set standards for commissioning practice;
  • reduce complicity; and
  • rebalance commissioning to focus on quality outcomes.

To oversee implementation a National Office will be established, providing a link between its role and that of the National Commissioning Board and NHS Executive.

In addition, the Welsh Government intends to strengthen regional partnership arrangements by working with Regional Partnership Boards to fortify:

  • governance and scrutiny;
  • planning and performance;
  • engagement and voice;
  • integrated service delivery; and
  • rebalancing the social care market.

Next steps

The Welsh Government will continue to engage with the sector and citizens to further develop the proposals set out in the White Paper.

The Welsh Government will also create Technical Groups comprising of representatives across the sector to co-produce this policy. It is anticipated that these Groups will provide a final advice to the Welsh Government in the summer of 2022 and following this, an update will then be provided to the Members of the Senedd on the outcome of this work.

This article has been co-written by Miles Murphy and Eve Piffaretti.

For more information about these proposed reforms, please contact Eve Piffaretti, Penri Desscan or Simon McCann.

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